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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Isaac Kleinman, MD (Baylor College of Medicine)
Description: This is a new handbook on epilepsy by an Australian author.
Purpose: It is intended to provide an intelligible overview on the subject for medical students and other healthcare professionals and for caretakers of persons with epilepsy.
Audience: It would also serve well as a handbook for residents in the primary care specialties.
Features: Its main feature is its compactness and small size. This book succeeds admirably. Although written in plain English, the book does not talk down to the reader. It is nicely organized and indexed. It outlines epidemiology and etiology; classifies and defines seizure disorders; and discusses differential diagnosis, antiepileptic drugs (including indications and side effects), medical management, psychosocial issues, and pseudoepilepsy. Comments are included on epilepsy in elderly, retarded, and disabled patients. The chapter on lifestyle provides helpful guidance on when to prohibit or modify such activities as swimming, flying, riding, and driving. There is a brief chapter providing information for patients.
Assessment: The data in the book are very accessible. It is filled with helpful lists, diagrams, and algorithms, color highlighted and easy to use. The book is printed on excellent paper, and the type size and style makes it very legible. Its small size makes it very handy for carrying around as a quick reference for differential diagnosis, drug selection, and dosages. The book has but one failing — an appendix of epilepsy associations, treatment centers, residential centers, and special schools is helpful for Australians only. A similar appendix listing U.S. facilities would make the book more useful for American readers. It is highly recommended.